When building a new product, companies can either do the majority of their research before testing the product with customers or they can test as they go, building a product in a constant state of discovery. Snagajob took the latter approach as we built ReadyHire, a solution that helps employers hire a large number of employees in a short period of time.
Our discovery process not only helped shaped the ReadyHire solution to meet employers' needs, but it also answered some key high-volume hiring questions: what's different about high-volume hiring, what are the pros and cons of different approaches, and what best practices can help ensure success?
To save you the time and resource investment of your own discovery process, I'll answer each question below.
Is high-volume hiring different?
Yes. There are three key factors that complicate high-volume hiring beyond year-round or back-fill hiring.
- Multiplied effort. The hiring process is already a time-consuming endeavor. Multiply that process by 50, 100 or 500 and you could easily cripple your managers' ability to do anything else.
- Lofty hiring goals. When you need to hire 50 new employees to open a location and you're facing a hard deadline, the pressure can lead managers to accept the next person who walks in the door. But if you don't hire strategically, you may end up replacing those "warm bodies" in a few months.
- The cumulative effect. The odds are that you will be juggling spot hiring needs and other year-round operational issues when you have a high-volume hiring need. Having a plan for how to staff up for seasonal needs or a new location opening without interrupting your business is critical.
Which high-volume hiring approach is best?
There are multiple approaches to reach high-volume hiring goals, and which approach will work best for you depends on your goals, budget, timeline and a host of other factors. The key to choosing the right approach is to understand the pros and cons of each option and weigh them accordingly.
- Promote and process. You can promote openings and evaluate applicants through your existing hiring process. If you take the traditional approach – social media, in-store promotion, online job postings – the promotion cost will be minimal. But in order to fill a lot of positions quickly, you could find yourself devoting a good deal of time to attracting and evaluating candidates.
- Job fairs. Job fairs are often hosted by another organization, such as a local workforce center, which reduces the logistical work on your part. Attendance can be high at these events, but because job fairs are essentially "open calls" for anyone looking for a job, you may find that applicant fit doesn't meet your needs.
- Hiring fairs. Hiring fairs offer job seekers the opportunity to be interviewed, on the spot, for open positions. You'll attract serious applicants and can conduct a first evaluation on a large number of candidates in a single day. However, hiring events are a substantial undertaking with significant logistical challenges.
- Third-party partnerships. To get the benefit of a hiring event without the logistical investment, you can partner with a third party to provide support ranging from candidate recruitment, screening and scheduling to full event planning. When it comes to partners, one of the key differentiating factors is access to your target audience. Partners with direct access to your target audience can find qualified candidates faster, which reduces recruitment time and investment.
What best practices will help ensure high-volume hiring success?
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to high-volume hiring, so it can be tempting to skip a step or not focus on one aspect of the process. If you focus on the four best practices below, you'll increase your chances of reaching your hiring goals and providing a positive applicant experience along the way.
- Plan ahead. As soon as you're aware of a high-volume hiring need, begin thinking about your approach. If you're going to work with a third-party partner, allow a minimum of two weeks to let that partner plan and recruit for your event to ensure success.
- Develop goals based on previous recruiting experience. Look back at previous hires and determine how many interviews you conducted before you found the right hire. This number most likely won't change in your high-volume scenario, so plan interview volume accordingly.
- Focus on consistency. Particularly if you're going the route of a hiring event, make sure every interviewer knows what you're looking for, has a consistent set of questions and knows how to answer applicant inquiries.
- Don't forget to follow up. Just because an applicant might not be a fit as an employee, you don't want to lose him/her as a customer. Make sure you have a follow-up process in place if you're not making hiring decisions on the spot. Never let an applicant go more than a week without a response.
Our ReadyHire product discovery process sheds light on one of the most time-consuming and complicated hiring processes. From resource investment to hard deadlines, high-volume hiring can really disrupt business as usual if you don't understand what makes it different, consider the pros and cons of each approach, and stick to best practices as you execute your hiring strategy.
If you heed the valuable lessons we learned as we developed our proven high-volume hiring solution, you may find yourself meeting your hiring goals faster and more cost-effectively than you thought possible.
Jason Hamilton serves as Snagajob’s vice president of product and marketing. In this role, he is responsible for creating products that instantly connect workers and employers. He also leads Snagajob's marketing strategies – from customer acquisition and retention to marketplace development and growth. Oh, and he had a cameo in a Bollywood film.